A health care assistant from leading dementia and nursing care home provider Church Farm Care was invited to visit 10 Downing Street in London as part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Alice Potter, who joined Church Farm Care’s Cotgrave home in 2014 as a health care assistant, was asked to attend the celebrations at 10 Downing Street last month as a representative of the Nursing Associate Higher Apprenticeship programme, which is a new course being piloted for the first time by Health Education England.
The programme is being tested across 30 sites in the UK to help bridge the gap between care assistants and registered nurses. The University of Derby – where Alice is undertaking the course – is one of the first higher education institutions to be chosen to host the pilot training programme.
Alice is one of 30 people participating in the course at the University of Derby this year alongside her full-time job at Church Farm Care, which will see her become a registered nurse when she graduates in January 2019.
Alice said: “Taking part in this course has been a fantastic experience for me so far and it has helped me to develop my career whilst still being employed full time.
“When I started working at Church Farm Care I expressed an interest in going into nursing but I struggled to find a route that didn’t involve giving up my job and training for three years at university, so when Church Farm Care was approached with the opportunity of putting someone forward for this pilot scheme, I was honoured that they chose me for it.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without Church Farm Care, so I’d like to thank the team for their continued support.”
Earlier this year, Alice, who lives in Leicestershire, was approached by the national lead of the Nursing Associate programme to represent the pilot scheme at the 10 Downing Street celebrations, where she had the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, the chief nursing officer for England and other health care representatives.
She added: “Attending the NHS anniversary celebrations at 10 Downing Street was a surreal experience. It was brilliant to be able to speak to people who had extensive experience and a passion for the industry. The Prime Minister gave an inspirational speech and I had the chance to mingle with some very exciting people. I’m so glad that once this course is complete I will officially be part of the nursing family.”
Church Farm Care, which provides specialist care for people living with dementia and high quality residential, nursing and palliative care, has four homes across Radcliffe-on-Trent, Cotgrave and West Bridgford.
The care home provider recently celebrated the second anniversary of its independent training centre in Nottingham, which provides its staff with a plethora of training courses, including dementia awareness, first aid and end of life care.
Liz Norton, training, learning and development manager at Church Farm Care, said: “Alice is a huge asset to the Church Farm Care team, she is well liked by the people who live with us and our staff. We are extremely proud of how well she is doing on her course and to get to see her hard work acknowledged by her visit to 10 Downing Street was wonderful.
“We are always looking at ways for our staff to progress and we are pleased that we could help Alice achieve her goals. We’d like to wish her the best of luck as she completes the final few months of her course.”